MANILA — The island-province of Romblon is set to prove that it is more than just the “Marble Capital of the Philippines” as it plays host to the biggest festival in the region this November.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo made this statement urging tourists to visit the province to celebrate the upcoming Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) Festival.
Teo said the festival will allow Romblon to unravel its world-class attractions including its pristine sea waters, unspoiled beaches, and wild rivers as well as its centuries-old churches, Spanish forts, and well-preserved ancestral homes.
“While Romblon has been known as the largest marble producer in the Philippines and exporter of best-quality marble products, the province also possesses the qualities of its neighboring Palawan province,” Teo said in a statement.
The DOT Secretary scored Romblon for its “relative isolation,” which she said proves to be one of the best-kept secrets of the region.
She said Romblon is just as attractive as the popular Palawan’s tourist spots such as the crystal-clear sea waters and white-sand beaches in Tablas, Bon-Bon, Nonok-Nonok, and Cobrador; the waterfalls in Trangkalan, Dagubdob, and Busay and the Cresta del Gallo Island’s stunning sandbar and the Cantingas River in Sibuyan.
On the other hand, the province is also an ideal destination for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and other water activities like scuba diving and macro-diving-photography, as it boasts of 30 dive sites and diverse marine life including sharks, rays, tunas, snappers surrounded by coral walls and gardens.
It is also a perfect place to go on a historical tour as Romblon’s old plaza has retained its historical character, featuring the marble statues of Dr. Jose Rizal, a large roaring lion, and a grotto with the life-size image of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Many ancestral edifices also remain intact such as the Cathedral of San Jose with its antique tableau altar, stained-glass windows, and its vintage convent.
Built during the Spanish colonial period, Romblon’s old municipal hall also remains perched on a hill overlooking the ruins of Fuerza de San Andres and Fuerza de Santiago, which are both declared as National Cultural Treasures.
Meanwhile, Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, a well-respected obstetrician, took pride in the province having “one of the friendliest people in the world.”
“Rombloñanons are not only exceptionally skilled in crafting marbles. They are indeed one of the friendliest people in the world,” Firmalo said.
He said Rombloñanons’ genuine hospitality is shown in the preparation of their dishes for visitors, including sarsa (tiny shrimps wrapped in dried coconut leaves), liswi (colorful edible shells), and gamus (raw unripe langka or jackfruit thinly sliced), along with mainstays tinola with malunggay leaves; nilaga and sinigang; adobo; and inihaw na pusit, isda at baboy.
Moreover, the governor said that as part of its effort to boost tourism, the local government stands united against exploitative mining and is instead prioritizing the conservation of its natural resources.